By Jesse Saffron
The increased use of non-tenure track faculty by universities has drawn condemnation from many entrenched in the seniority system, but critics may be ignoring the more complex realities and distinctive needs of 21st Century higher education.
Sometimes the detractors blame so-called “corporatization.” Other times they allege that the culprit is inadequate state funding. Whatever their reasoning, critics tend to view the current faculty dynamic as one that allows schools to take advantage of today’s dysfunctional academic job market at the expense of student learning and professors’ well-being. For instance, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)—which holds a strong pro-tenure stance—says that the rise of NTT faculty threatens academic freedom, exploits faculty, and undermines the classroom experience.
While the AAUP and others may be accurate in some instances (harrowing anecdotes from overworked and underpaid adjunct professors seem to abound), they often treat the non-tenure track as a monolith, and thus ignore encouraging developments. In many ways the rise of full-time NTT faculty is significantly benefiting schools, professors, and students. Nevertheless, institutions are slowly recognizing that—for better or worse—a new faculty paradigm has arrived. The sooner they adapt, the better prepared they’ll be for the future. CONTINUE READING HERE